Texas Becoming a World Leader in Wind Energy

When you think of Texas energy you think of oil and gas, but Texas has quietly become a world leader in wind energy, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Texas produces more wind energy than almost any country in the world, and ranks first in the nation in wind related jobs, installed wind capacity, and projects under construction, according to a new report from the Southern Legislative Conference.

"Its a tremendous benefit to rural communities," Jeff Clark, Executive Director of the Texas Wind Coalition, told 1200 WOAI's Megan Bishop.  "It brings investment, it brings jobs, it brings property taxes for the schools.  But for every Texan, it brings cheaper, cleaner energy that is made in Texas."

Some 23,000 people work in the wind energy industry in Texas, which has a current capital investment of $38 billion.

Property owners receive lease payments for the location of wind turbines on their farms and ranches, much like mineral rights owners receive payments for oil and gas drilling.

Clark says community colleges are picking up on the growth in wind power by adding programs in alternative and sustainable energy technician and manager.

Clark says Texas is on the cutting edge of the future.

"Over the next decade or two, what we are going to see in energy is a movement to cleaner, cheaper, advanced technology energy made in Texas," he said.  "It will be wind, it will be solar, it will be energy storage."

He says the amount of wind energy generated in Texas has already surpassed a goal that the Texas Public Utility Commission set for 2025.

He says Texas is poised to take advantage of unique wind patters both in west Texas, where CPS Energy is among the early leaders in wind technology, but offshore in the coastal bend, where offshore turbines have begun to appear.

Experts agree that the future not just of wind but of all renewable alternatives will be the development of batteries that can store that electricity for use when the wind isn't blowing and the sun isn't shining.

PHOTO: GETTY

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